I was watching some preschoolers play the other day and I think there are a few lessons we can learn from them on how to adult. 

When I first started watching them, the teacher had directed them to a discovery center and she had put alphabet letters in some oatmeal (dry, not cooked). The kids had scoops and as they scooped, they discovered there were some letters in the oatmeal. They were then to find the letter on the alphabet strip next to the discovery center and put the letter there. 

The kids did this for a while and found most of the letters, but not all. 

Then they took some cars that were near the center and began running their cars in the oatmeal and making up all sorts of scenarios and knocking into one another, and driving on again. 

I thought about the kids and how they readily agreed to the activity even though some of them don’t know all their letters.

How many of us want to know everything before we start? 

These preschoolers seemed to know that learning is a process and they don’t have to know everything in order to get up to their elbows in oatmeal.

Remember how I said that they didn’t get all the letters on the alphabet strips. They didn’t worry about this, they just started playing and then as they played one of them shouted, “Hey, there is a letter in here we missed.” They took it over and matched it to the correct letter. This happened another 2 or 3 times. 

These kids didn’t have to have all the blanks filled in before they went on to discover other things.

Also, those cars crashed, but that didn’t stop them, they just kept on going. Someone stepped in their space, they went around the table and found a new location. It wasn’t working out where they were and they shifted gears and found a place they fit.

Us big people might be labeled the teachers, but preschoolers can teach adults a thing or two.


  1. We don’t have to know everything, we just have to start.
  2. Don’t worry if every part of your plan is not complete, just keep on doing what is working and the blanks will fill in.
  3. If where you are isn’t working out, make a shift, move a little. Try something different. Position yourself in a different place and give it a go.

Dr. Paul